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Blurb: She's in for the fight of her life...with the man who only wants to be her lover.

Fighter Mia Anderson has faced the dark side of life and survived. But just getting by is no longer enough. To fund her new life with her baby sister, she's determined to beat the reigning king of the male fighters in New York's underground MMA circuit, Tray "Fox" Knox.

Tray refuses to fight a woman, until he learns Mia's tougher than anyone he has ever known. He soon realizes he wants more from her than blows and blood, and he's willing to hit below the belt to get it. He'll fight her, but if he wins, she spends the night in his bed. All night long, his rules. No tapping out.

Mia agrees, certain that he'll lose. What she doesn't realize is that Tray loves to fight dirty...and that this match may end up being the most important one of their lives.



Warning: please be advised this book contains content some may find triggering (past sexual trauma) and also contains graphic sex and language that may not be suitable for underage readers.

Review

I struggled with my feelings for Shadowboxer. The first half locked me in and had me somewhere between fist pumping and jaw-on-floor shallow breathing during Mia/Tray moments. And then my feelings were clouded. I wasn't sure what I thought of the events going down as I read them. In the end, I didn't dislike the book. Far from. But I certainly didn't have the same love I had for it in the beginning.

What I liked

The blurb warns of abuse and from the first line of the book my mind was geared for that kind of story. I've always said that my personal feelings on stories dealing with darker topics is that if you can't give the character some kind of justice -- or at least not make light of the situation -- then you shouldn't write about it. I think Prescott did a very good job weaving the reader into Mia's mind and showing all of the areas her traumatic experiences have affected. While there is a very heavy romance element to the book, I don't feel that Mia's character resolve of the ordeal was sacrificed for moving the story along.

I thought the MMA storyline was well thought out. Prescott at least knew enough of the basics to make legit points about the sport and not throw the random tag lines that other author's often do to give the "essence" of the sport without talking about the real deal.

The way Mia and Tray open up to each other was well done. Mia has a past she's still trying to work through and Prescott did a great job at constantly allowing Mia's character to progress in her mental state and move forward in life without shoving her to the finish line. At the same time, Tray was very perceptive of Mia. He knew when to help her along and he knew when to take a step back and let her come to terms with something on her own. There was a real emotional connection between their give and take and it really brought the reader in.

What I'm neutral about

If you're looking for a book full of steamy scenes between an alpha male and alpha female, this is your book! The tension is strong between Mia and Tray from the first time they meet just a few pages in. That tension remains there through the entire book because they are both very strong-headed people. They do throw out their inhibitions pretty early on, but it doesn't take away from the story like that normally would. It actually sets it up to be a pretty fun read as they both fight for being the one that is actually in control of the situations.

What I didn't like

I struggled with how the book ended. I can't say much of anything about the ending without spoiling it. It's one of those things where the author builds something up the entire book and then rips the carpet out from underneath the reader. To some readers, the carpet will be more of a slow pull and they'll walk off it with a shrug and not much care that it happened. Others will stumble a couple of steps but find their resolve, if not fall in love with the turn of events. And then there's me. Where the carpet was a literal rip out from underneath my feet and I fell on my face. In all honesty, looking back it really wasn't that big of a deal and I'm sure a majority of readers would love how it transpires. But in my eyes it took away the main point of the story. Literally. That's all I'm saying.


If you've read this book and know what I'm talking about, or are curious, leave a comment and we can hash it out down there. 


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